Residents seeking alternative treatments using industrialized hemp have a new place to go in East Lyme.
Your CBD Store is a franchise affiliate of Sunflora Inc. (SunMed) which currently has over 600 stores nationwide. It began as a brick and mortar which sold products containing highly concentrated amounts of cannabidiol, an active ingredient in cannabis derived from the hemp plant. CBD is often used to treat certain symptoms such as pain, insomnia and anxiety.
The newest location is being overseen by local resident Clayton Percy, who grew up in Montville, New London and Norwich. In 1999 he graduated from Montville High School and thereafter briefly attended Southern Connecticut State University.
Later, he started his career in direct marketing, beginning as a door-to-door salesman for 17 years. Throughout his life, as he tells it, Percy struggled with clinical depression, anxiety and various stress disorders as well as mild back pains. When he was younger he coped with these issues with drugs and alcohol, however as he grew older he decided to pursue a healthier alternative.
That was how he learned about industrialized hemp. Less than a year ago, he tried CBD for the first time when it was introduced to him by the founder and co-founder of Your CBD Store, Rachel Quinn.
“I tried it, and almost immediately after I had gotten quality plant matter into my system my body started to respond to it,” Percy said. “I started to level out; I wasn’t high, I wasn’t low, but I had this cool, calm feeling about myself and I felt calm and comfortable in my own skin, which was not the case when I was feeling very nervous or anxious or anxiety stricken.”
Afterward, Percy decided to pursue a career in the industry.
“I always wanted to help people, I wanted to be in the health and wellness industry. If I could help other people get relief from a wide array of ailments like I had been I wanted to share that with people,” he said.
Percy met with other people who shared his views and were open about the benefits of CBD, and it was from there that the company was formed.
The first Connecticut-based Your CBD Store franchise opened in Milford four months ago, and it was warmly received. Now Percy has opened a new store in East Lyme so that residents of his home area can have access to all the same products.
The store sells a variety of products such as lip balm, beauty cream, skin cream and gummies. Customers are welcome to sample the products and make a decision before deciding if they want to make a purchase.
Percy is hoping customers will include not only people who use CBD regularly for various medical conditions, but also people who are new to CBD, as well as those who are looking for an alternative to dispensary marijuana or opioids. In the past, customers who used opioids such as pain-killers responded much better to CBD, he said.
Opening a business, however, is not without its obstacles, and the biggest one that Percy faced was misconceptions about CBD. Since the science is still incomplete on the risks and benefits of CBD, no one is truly an expert on the subject, he said, and he hopes that the store can help move people in the direction of learning more.
The company plans on launching a smartphone app to collect feedback and results from customers who have tried their products, which they will in turn make available to potential customers. The information will be used to advise customers and to add to data already being studied by the Food and Drug Administration in order to help regulate CBD products.
As of now, CBD is still highly unregulated throughout most parts of the country. The market for it started picking up after the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized the growing of industrialized hemp.
Just this month, Connecticut State Sen. Richard Blumenthal held a press conference in which he called for the FDA to regulate the increasing CBD market, as failure to do so could potentially put customers at risk, he said.
This concern is shared by the company as a whole, Percy said.
“We’re somebody that really looks to pioneer what the standards should be in regulation for CBD,” he said. “Not just for sale but also for consumers.”
SunMed, the holding company for Your CBD Store, sells CBD products using industrialized hemp grown in the company’s farm in Colorado, which is regulated by the federal Department of Agriculture. The CBD itself is extracted in a facility certified by the FDA, and the CBD is checked by various third parties to ensure the best quality possible.
The store is open from 10 to 7 Monday through Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday.
Paul Garrett is a Times intern and Mitchell College student.